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8 /10 Voluntary Confession

Erik, the younger of the two, couldn’t seem to cope with the emotional burden of his crime, despite having been on a series of expensive splurge after the death of his parents. He secretly told Craig Cignarelli that he and his brother had killed his parents.

In October 1989, Erik met with psychologist L. Jerome Oziel and, during their session, admitted his involvement in the murders.

His brother Lyle found out about the confession and threatened to kill the psychologist if words about it ever reached the authorities.

7 /10 Secret Recorder

Unbeknownst to Erik and Lyle, the joint confession was recorded on tape by the psychologist’s mistress, Judalon Smyth, who was in the waiting room listening to the conversation.

Smyth did not immediately go to the police with the recorded confession. She waited for nearly five months.

Finally, seven months after Jose and his wife were murdered, the perpetrators were arrested. Lyle was the first to be apprehended, and his brother turned himself in several days later.

The recording became a subject of an intense dispute regarding its admissibility in court. The California Supreme Court deemed it permissible.


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